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American Literature

The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas by Kevin J. Hayes

By Kevin J. Hayes

Thomas Jefferson was once an avid book-collector, a voracious reader, and a talented writer--a guy who prided himself on his wisdom of classical and smooth languages and whose marginal annotations comprise quotations from Euripides, Herodotus, and Milton. And but there hasn't ever been a literary lifetime of our so much literary president.

In The highway to Monticello, Kevin J. Hayes fills this crucial hole by way of supplying a full of life account of Jefferson's religious and highbrow improvement, concentrating on the books and ideas that exerted the main profound effect on him. relocating chronologically via Jefferson's lifestyles, Hayes finds the total variety and intensity of Jefferson's literary passions, from the preferred "small books" bought by way of touring chapmen, equivalent to The heritage of Tom Thumb, which enthralled him as a toddler; to his lifelong love of Aesop's Fables and Robinson Crusoe; his engagement with Horace, Ovid, Virgil and different writers of classical antiquity; and his deep affinity with the depression verse of Ossian, the mythical third-century Gaelic warrior-poet. Drawing on Jefferson's letters, journals, and usual books, Hayes bargains a wealth of recent scholarship at the print tradition of colonial the US, unearths an intimate portrait of Jefferson's actions past the political chamber, and reconstructs the president's investigations in such various fields of data as legislations, historical past, philosophy and average technology. most significantly, Hayes uncovers the tips and exchanges which expert the contemplating America's first nice highbrow and indicates how his lifelong pursuit of data culminated within the formation of a public supplying, the "academic village" which turned UVA, and his extra deepest retreat at Monticello.

Gracefully written and painstakingly researched, The highway to Monticello presents a useful examine Jefferson's highbrow and literary existence, uncovering the roots of a few of the main important--and influential--ideas that experience educated American historical past.

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Regardless how great their ideas or how wide their fame, all met their earthly end. In addition to inculcating piety in young Jefferson and teaching him the fundamentals of Latin grammar, his teacher may have exposed him to other intellectual currents. At Glasgow Douglas had studied with Gershom Carmichael, who introduced his students to the names of Locke and Grotius and the ideas they represented. Carmichael not only incorporated their thought in both his lectures and writings, but also pioneered a new approach to moral philosophy prefiguring subsequent intellectual developments that flourished with the Scottish Enlightenment.

It is not coincidence that this prayer book survived while so many other books perished in the fire at Shadwell. Though the vital records within the book’s covers remain important to Jefferson family history, the other inscriptions Thomas made in the 28 the education of thomas jefferson volume are more pertinent to the story of his literary and intellectual growth. To the tenth verse of Psalm 10—‘‘The days of our age are threescore years and ten, and though men be strong that they come to fourscore years: yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone’’—he supplied a footnote in Greek from the first book of Herodotus.

Variety relieves the mind, as well as the eye, palled with too long attention to a single object. But with both, transitions from one object to another may be so frequent and transitory as to leave no impression. ’’28 Though Maury says little in his ‘‘Dissertation on Education’’ regarding the specific curriculum, the few authors he does mention Jefferson came to know well. ’’29 These three names refer to the day’s most widely known and well-respected Anglican divines. 30 Tillotson possessed a literary eloquence that helped shape eighteenthcentury prose style, too.

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